Stan Eichhorn and Jack Schulze are encouraging local residents to share their stories and photos for a Stettler history book project they are working on. Mark Weber/Stettler Independent

History book committee continues to need your help

Organizers are seeking local family stories, histories and photos

Organizers behind a Stettler history book continue to put out the call for the community’s help as the project moves forward.

And with the pandemic forcing many to be at home these days, perhaps this makes for a good time to go digging a bit more through the family history for material to contribute.

Committee members point out that it would be very much appreciated if residents would provide information for the book, as Stettler has no comprehensive history book of its own.

“We need people,” said Stan Eichhorn, also referring to the ways folks can help out with the project from proof-reading to typing. “We’ve got material that needs to be gone through and edited and sorted as well. So we have some tasks like that.”

In terms of material, Eichhorn said the committee really wants to go right back to the community’s beginnings.

“This is the first book, so really I think we need to go back to the beginning – and there is a lot of interesting history in those beginning years to tell you the truth,” he explained. “That isn’t to say that someone who just came here 10 years ago shouldn’t be in there,” he added. “Anybody and everybody who has been part of Stettler, whether it’s been for one or two years or for 100 years, please be a part of this.

“We’ve got this whole area here – Stettler and west including Buffalo Lake, and down to Big Valley and maybe into Big Valley. We cover that area generally – soft boundaries.”

To date, they have about 280 submissions.

But they’d like more. “There are a lot of families here with interesting stories. And my feeling is, if we have more than enough for one book, let’s do two! We would also be willing to help people organize and prepare any information that they may have,” said Eichhorn. “We could also use more pictures – we are shy on pictures,” he said, adding that in several cases, there could be up to five generations in the region among many local families.

Verna Rock, a committee member as well, pointed out that histories dating back to the 50s and 60s would of course be welcome, too. Sometimes, people think their time in the community doesn’t go far back enough to warrant being in a history book, but that’s not the case, she said. “People say, ‘We didn’t come here until the 50s’, – but that’s 70 years ago. You have made an impact in this town.”

Rock pointed out that the book will also include stories about some darker chapters in the region’s history, such as the Cook murders in the late 1950s.

Jack Schulze, who is also on the committee, emphasized the importance of seeing the project move forward in a timely manner.

“The longer we wait, we’ve lost so much already,” he said, referring to several long-time residents who have passed away. He’s also concerned that once the book is published, there may be some who had wished they contributed but didn’t, or for some reason may have thought their story wasn’t important.

Eichhorn said they would also like to collect stories and photos about local sports teams, businesses, clubs and service organizations that have been such an important part of the community over the years.

Meanwhile, it was several years back that the idea to publish a local history surfaced during a chat between Eichhorn and Schulze.

The men realized that there is no history book chronicling the town’s past. They also realized that there are more than 200 communities in the province that do have history books.

“So Jack and I said, we should do something!”

They started holding regular meetings which have continued on a monthly basis.

As to the purpose of the book, committee members say that it’s important for future generations to have a record of their community’s history.

Meanwhile, organizers are looking for stories 750 words or less per family generation about families, businesses, and interesting anecdotes that may have happened while they lived in the region.

Hand-written submissions are welcome, and since they will be using Microsoft Word, any material coming in that format would also be very helpful.

Organizers can also scan most old photos, some negatives and some slides.

“We want to try and give future generations more of an appreciation as to what went into this community, and why it’s a good community,” observed Eichhorn. “We think it’s worth talking about the people that went before us.”

For more about the Stettler History book project, call 403-742-2249. You can also check out www.stettlerhistory.ca or email stettlerhistorybook@gmail.com, vj.rock@telus.net or stan.eichhorn@gmail.com.

Find them on Facebook at ‘Stettler History Book’.

Submissions can also be mailed to P.O. Box 1437, Stettler. The postal code is T0C 2L0.

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